Slow FoodAA Crew
The fast food revolution is upon us. Giant food chains stand tall on every corner of the world, and we’re far too familiar with spilling food on our laps as we race from meeting to meeting. Our busy lifestyles mean dining tables are left to gather dust, and cooking traditions passed down through generations, are being forgotten. Food has become a fleeting necessity; a requirement to keep on going, rather than an enjoyable experience.
Enter: Slow food.
What is Slow Food?
The slow food movement officially began in the 1980s when Carlo Petrini and a team of activists, set out to preserve culinary traditions and the art of slow living. But let’s bust the common misconception: slow food is not food that takes hours to get to the table. It’s the concept of food prepared with consideration for the body, mind, and environment. Slow food is locally grown, not pre-made and pre-packaged, respects the environment and animals, and is treasured and valued by the consumers.
Slow food is…
Good: It’s tasty, wholesome, rich in flavour, and representative of where we are in the world and what the local environment offers us. Slow food is healthy, nutritious, and tasty. A meal prepared with slow food in mind, contains all the protein and macronutrients we need.
Slow food adopters believe food shouldn’t be merely about fuelling the body. The eating experience should be a treat for the senses. That satisfying feeling you get after a roast lunch with your family and friends: that’s slow food.
Clean: Slow food is prepared and served in the most environmentally friendly way possible. From sourcing the food, to presenting it on the plate, slow food considers the animals, people, and environment. It’s generally plant based, uses free-farmed and sustainably sourced animal produce, and involves very little packaging.
Fair: The cook is not the only person who has a part in producing a meal; the food industry involves many hands. Slow food includes fair working conditions and pay for those involved in every step of the food production. It promotes fair trade practices for all workers involved in growing, harvesting, and transporting the food.
Slow food benefits the body…
Embracing slow food is very beneficial for our health. Food free from chemicals, preservatives, and additives, properly nourishes our bodies, and gives our organs what they need to grow, repair, and prosper. Not only that, but slow food includes the benefits of the cooking experience, and eating mindfully.
The smell of food being prepared, tells our digestive system to launch into action, meaning our bodies can absorb nutrients far more efficiently. Once the meal has begun, taking one bite at a time, and pausing to chat and relax in between, allows our body to register when it’s full. If you complain about cramps after dinner, or are too stuffed full to even dessert (worst nightmare!), it’s probably because you eat too fast and therefore, too much. Engaging in slow food practices can help to reduce stomach cramps, and make sure there’s always room for dessert.
If you’re a netflix subscriber, there’s a great documentary called Cooked by Michael Pollen that explores our relationship with food and how it has evolved over time.
Slow food benefits the mind…
The food we eat is important for brain function and mood regulation. It’s no coincidence our parents drill into us from early ages ‘eat your greens!’; they genuinely want us to thrive. Slow food is one of the best ways we can optimise our minds and mental state. Our brain needs the right nutrients to focus and learn, and chemical free, plant-based food contains all the good stuff.
Fast food diets simply don’t allow a human to function at optimum capacity, both physically and mentally. High sugar spikes from fast food can cause irritation and withdrawal after the initial sugar rush has worn off, and the lack of nutrients is why we often feel lethargic after eating takeout. I know personally the last time I indluged in fast food for dinner (which admittedly is more recently than I would like to admit) I felt horrible the next day. I woke up without the usual vigour and my digestion was wreaking havoc all day.
But, it’s not just the type of foods we’re eating that benefit our mental health. The simple act of planning, preparing, and making a meal for ourselves, can help us relax, calm our mind, and serve as a gesture of self-care. Sharing a meal with friends and family builds relationships, sparks laughter, and stirs conversation that can challenge you mentally and grow your mind.
How to Embrace Slow Food
So, we’ve tackled what slow food is and why it’s so important, but how can we jump on the band wagon without committing to slaving away in the kitchen 24/7?
- Buy in bulk from whole food stores.
- Choose produce that is locally grown and in season.
- Purchase less meat.
- Look out for non-GMO and certified organic foods.
- Grow your own food.
- Avoid processed and packaged food.
- Plan your meals in advance.
- Use a slow cooker: turn it on in the morning, and get home to a ready cooked meal at night.
- Cook meals in bulk, and freeze them to mix slow food with a busy life.
- Eat in rather than out.
- Consider a variety of foods in your meals.
- Find recipes that are quick and easy, but include raw ingredients that grow locally.
- Enjoy the process of cooking your meal: treat it like an activity not a chore.
- Breathe in between bites and chew your food properly; it aids digestion. Don’t treat your meal like a race.
- Sit down to eat.
- Eat with others.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV.
- Invite your friends over for meals, or start a potluck group where you alternate hosts and have a meal together regularly.
- Give thanks and be grateful for your food as you buy it, and eat it.
- Always be open to new flavours and experiences.
- Try new foods when you’re travelling; indulge in the local culture unless it’s egregiously unethical.
- Avoid fast food chains unless absolutely necessary i.e. you’re in the middle of nowhere and the only restaurant within sight is a KFC (okay, that’s a bit extreme but you get the point).
- Dine out at places that use local ingredients.
So there you have it. Slow food explained. It may seem impossible to achieve in our everyday fast paced lives, but sometimes we need to take a step back from all the mayhem and appreciate our health, relationships and nutrition.